Thursday, April 19, 2012

New York Times: Enjoying Turntables Without Obsessing


There was a pretty good article in yesterday's New York Times on buying a turntable and listening to vinyl records called "Enjoying Turntables Without Obsessing." Of course, considering the article covers relatively esoteric, audiophile-dweeb issues like moving magnet vs moving coil cartridges, and belt drive vs direct drive tables, I can image some might question the accuracy of the headline. But here was the least surprising part of the article for me:
"There is a fuller sound to it, and more depth to the sound," said Ryan Holiday, the New Orleans-based marketing director for American Apparel. He’s a new devotee of jazz and David Bowie, thanks to LPs. 
Having heard some of the David Bowie CDs that have been released over the years (from Rykodisc and Virgin) it's not surprising to me that it would take LPs to convert Ryan into a Bowie fan. The old RCA Bowie LPs are not perfect (they were often pressed on dodgey oil crisis era vinyl), but they really do sound much better than the CDs. Fuller and with more depth is a good start to describing the difference between the LPs and the CDs. The Ryko CDs are also unnaturally bright, and the Virgins have the added deficit of having had all life sucked out of them with noise reduction. The Ryko CDs at least have some interesting, occasionally essential, bonus tracks to recommend them.

Yeah, they're occasionally a little noisy, but those Bowie RCA LPs beg you to crank the volume and rock out, while the CDs are pretty tough on the ears at even moderate listening volumes. I think it would be a lot harder to be Bowie fan if all you ever heard was the commonly available CDs, they simply don't do the music justice.


Kaiser said...

Thanks for the heads up on that article. I really enjoy reading your blog. Very true about Bowie vinyl. I recently found a reissue (early 80s) copy of Lodger - still sealed for $10 and it blew me away! Some of the earlier, 70s vintage RCA US pressings (Dynaflex) could be yucky, but many of those black-label, early 80s reissues sound real good. Cheers!

Pete Bilderback said...

Thanks a lot!